Watch the Progress 79 cargo launch October 27
Progress 79 takes flight next week
On Wednesday, October 27, 2021, Russia’s uncrewed Progress 79 cargo spacecraft, formally known as Progress MS-18, will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The resupply vehicle will bring almost three tons of food, fuel, and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). NASA hasn’t disclosed what rocket is launching Progress, but it’s likely to be a Soyuz. Live coverage of the launch will begin October 27 at 8:00 p.m. EDT (00:00 UTC or 5:00 a.m. October 28 Baikonur time) on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and its mobile app. Translate UTC to your time. The spacecraft will spend about two days in orbit around Earth before docking with the Zvezda service module on October 29. Watch here.
Roscosmos developed the Progress spacecraft to fill the need for a frequent inflow of essential payloads to make long-duration ISS missions possible. Previously, such loads were not practical to fit with passengers in the restricted space of a Soyuz. Next Wednesday’s launch will be the 170th flight of a Progress spacecraft. And, if all goes according to plan, Progress 79 will log many months in space.
Tonight: Progress 78 undocks
Meanwhile, Progress 78 – Progress 79’s predecessor – is wrapping up five months of operation at the station’s Poisk module this evening. At 7:42 p.m. EDT (23:43 UTC) on October 20, the spacecraft will undock from the outpost and spend the next two days preparing for a re-docking with the Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module on Friday, October 22. NASA says the maneuver will allow Progress 78 to conduct leak checks of the Nauka module’s propellant lines before they’re used with the new module’s thrusters.
The docking to Nauka’s nadir port is scheduled for October 22 at 04:31 UTC, involving the Kurs docking system automatic approach.
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Bottom line: Watch a cargo spacecraft launch to the International Space Station on October 27, 2021.